Web, Video and Audio Conferencing

Rant: Over enthusiastic whooping at B2B tech conferences

I’ve ranted about whooping at conferences before. But at a recent Sage event in New Orleans I was privy to the worst whooping of my entire life. And this was a gathering about accounting software.

It started small with an enthusiastic little team of paid whoopers gathered round the entrance to the breakfast hall. “Hey!” “Good morning!” “Have a nice day!” they yelled while pointing and jigging towards the lines of refreshments.

Instantly dazed, things were set to worsen at the entrance to the main hall...

Around 50 people were crowded in two half circles around the entrance. Some wielded neon green glow sticks. Some jived on the spot. Some leapt forward in greeting. One individual launched so forcefully into my face whilst hi-ing that for a split second I thought I knew her and ought to slip into some kind of chirpy English “How are you?”

The experience was mortifying. I was tempted to ditch all professionalism, shut the hair curtains and give up entirely. But British-introvert reaction aside, I’m not sure Sage was doing itself any favours… because no future clapping could ever compete with that initial enthusiasm.

Even with the highest profile speakers you can buy – and Sage had ‘em – nobody can get that excited about accountancy software.

“We have three new cloud offerings!” Um… the clapping was a squib and there wasn’t a whoop in the room.

The slightly forced marketing message “Death of ERP!” generated an isolated whoop from about five people behind me. But even that seemed to hang embarrassedly amongst the low-key clapping.

In fact, the highest level of organic whooping came from someone saying they were from North Carolina. And even that was only the state’s small, yet zealous contingent, located somewhere near the back of the room.

So, realistically, could any conference content deliver on that kind of initial gusto? Sadly, I could only imagine a hair and makeover show where those being revamped had family members in the crowd. I’m picturing an American audience all shouting stuff along the lines of: “You go girlfriend… that is hot!”   

And so that only leaves one final, extremely tricky, question. What about a British audience? The only realistic follow up I could think of was Take That


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